Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Every Which Way But Loose

Spell checking in Office 2007 ...

"One of the most amazingly useful features designed into Office is the red-squiggle underlined spell checking introduced in Word 95.

Spell checking before that was a rather modal process: type some words, hit the spell check button, wait for a dialog box to open up to show the next spelling error, click one of the buttons in the dialog box, and then repeat the process over and over again.

I was just starting college when I saw the red squiggle for the first time and I remember thinking "this changes everything." What I once considered to be a tedious, lengthy chore became something that I didn't have to think about at all. I made my corrections as I went, just like I fix other errors as I type. For me, the feature makes me feel freer to concentrate on my writing.

I think it has also contributed to increased proficiency as a speller. The red squiggles make wrong words look wrong on the page. As a result, an association is created between the wrong spelling and the negative reinforcement of seeing a big red line under it. I feel like I can tell when I've typed incorrectly spelled words sometimes--some part of my brain triggers, knowing that a red squiggle is about to appear. Maybe it's in my imagination, but I do feel like I type fewer misspelled words than ever before in my life.

Some people feel that red squiggle spelling is problematic because it takes your mind away from the process of putting thoughts on the page. I suppose I can see that, but I still prefer the "as you go" approach personally. In Office 2007 you can continue to use both ways of spell checking, of course."   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)

Contextual Spelling - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Contextual Spelling


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